one more time

Our favorite recipes of 2008 are delicious and affordable

December 31, 2008|By Kate Shatzkin | Kate Shatzkin,kate.shatzkin@baltsun.com

With the economy in crisis, eating well may seem like a luxury. But when we looked back over the hundreds of recipes we published in our You & Taste section this year, we took heart: Among them were many stars that could be made without breaking the bank. We've chosen eight to share with you once more, including an easy orange-glazed pork; a simple panzanella that will use up all your garden vegetables and stale bread; a celebratory but simple chocolate souffle; and Maryland fried chicken unexpectedly flavored with Old Bay seasoning.

pistachio-rose water cookies

These dainty, fragrant cookies from "Veganomicon," by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, wowed us during testing for a review of vegan cookbooks last January. They've got no dairy and no eggs, but lots of flavor.

(makes 32 cookies)

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup canola oil

3 tablespoons rice milk or soy milk

1 tablespoon rose water (see note)

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two cookie sheets with shortening, or spray with cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, rice milk, rose water, vanilla extract, lime juice and zest. Add the cornstarch and whisk until dissolved. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom. Mix well.

Roll the dough into balls about 2 teaspoons in size (a bit smaller than a walnut) and dip the tops into the chopped pistachios. Press pistachios into the ball to flatten each cookie slightly.

Place the cookies, nut side up, about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. You should be able to fit 16 on a standard baking sheet.

Bake for 13 minutes. The cookies will be soft, but will firm up as they cool. Remove from the oven and let cool on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Note:: We found rose water at Eddie's of Roland Park.

From "Veganomicon," by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

Per cookie: : 103 calories, 1 gram protein, 4 grams fat, trace saturated fat, 15 grams carbohydrate, trace fiber, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 48 milligrams sodium

individual chocolate souffles

Faith Kling, a senior associate chef instructor at Baltimore International College, showed us how to make these simple chocolate souffles for a Valentine's Day Cooking 101 piece. When we made them again, they rose to beautiful heights and had great chocolate taste.

(serves 6 using 6-ounce ramekins)

3 tablespoons softened butter, plus cold butter for ramekins

1/4 cup high-gluten flour or bread flour

1 cup whole milk

1/4 cup sugar, plus extra for preparing ramekins

2 1/2 ounces high-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped, plus more for garnish

5 separated eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons sugar for egg whites

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter 6 ramekins with cold butter, then roll sugar around the bottom and sides. Place on a baking sheet and set aside.

Off heat, mix butter and flour together in a saucepan to form a paste. In another pot, combine milk and 1/4 cup sugar and heat until scalded. Slowly pour the milk mixture into the butter-flour paste and mix until smooth, taking care to break up any lumps.

Boil this mixture 2 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until it has thickened to the consistency of hot cereal; remove from heat. Add chocolate and stir to melt. Add the egg yolks all at once and whisk to combine. Transfer chocolate mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add vanilla while the chocolate is still warm.

Whip the egg whites on highest speed until soft peaks form, then whip in 2 tablespoons sugar. Gently fold egg whites into the chocolate mixture until incorporated. Spoon the mixture into ramekins, leaving about 1/8 inch of space at the top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until souffles have roughly doubled in size. Grate a bit of chocolate over the tops and serve immediately.

Courtesy of Baltimore International College senior associate chef instructor Faith Kling

Per serving: : 265 calories, 8 grams protein, 15 grams fat, 8 grams saturated fat, 27 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 195 milligrams cholesterol, 77 milligrams sodium

backyard panzanella

Our Backyard Harvest series last summer featured recipes from gardeners. We came back several times to this panzanella from Ellicott City gardener Amanda Lauer. It's a great way to use up both leftover vegetables and extra bread - the staler the better.

(serves 4)

3 cups cubed vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers are best)

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 loaf day-old hearty bread (ciabatta and whole-grain work well), cubed

1 can drained and rinsed cannellini beans (about 15 ounces)

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

red-wine vinegar and olive oil to taste

freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

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